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04/19/2007


Judge to Rule on Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban Within Two Weeks

Piazza

Following hearings yesterday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said he would rule within two weeks on a challenge to Arkansas' ban on gay marriage, the Arkansas News Bureau reports:

Twenty-one same-sex Arkansas couples — and one woman seeking a divorce from a woman she married in New York — allege in a lawsuit that Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution, which was approved by voters in 2004 and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, violates rights guaranteed under both the state and federal constitutions.

The state attorney general’s office maintains that banning same-sex marriage preserves state interests and does not violate any fundamental rights.

ArkansasJack Wagoner, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said during Thursday’s hearing that since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in the U.S. v. Windsor case last year, 18 federal and state court decisions have been issued addressing the issue of equality based on sexual orientation, and all have been decided in favor of equality.

“I love coming to court when the facts are all on my side,” Wagoner said.

Assistant Attorney Colin Jorgensen argued that in the Windsor ruling, the Supreme Court addressed federal law only and did not block states from defining marriage as they wish.

More on the hearing here.

Said Piazza following the three-hour arguments: "I’ve already got an idea where I’m going, but I’m still drifting."


Prop 8 Defense Attorney Reveals Daughter is Gay and Getting Married, Says Views are Evolving

Attorney Charles Cooper, who argued for 'Protect Marriage in the Proposition 8 case, says he learned during the trial that his daughter is gay and he's now helping plan her wedding, the AP reports:

CooperAttorney Charles Cooper says his view of same-sex marriage is evolving after having argued in court that gay unions could undermine marriages between a man and a woman.

The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country's rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favour of allowing the unions.

Said Cooper:

"My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people's do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago," Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker's book "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality."

The AP adds:

In a statement to The Associated Press, Cooper said his family "is typical of families all across America."
"My daughter Ashley's path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey's family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks," he said.


Circuit Judge in Arkansas to Hear Challenge to Gay Marriage Ban

Marriage_arkansas

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is set to hear a case challenging Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage today at 1 pm in Little Rock, the AP reports:

Late last year, Piazza refused to grant a motion by the state that sought to dismiss the lawsuit, but he also refused to grant a motion by the couples suing, who asked him to block enforcement of the ban. The plaintiffs include 21 same-sex couples and a woman who wants to dissolve her New York marriage to another woman.


Pro-Gay Republican Super PAC Reports $2.75 Million Take in First Quarter

Paul Singer's American Unity Super PAC, which was launched in June 2012 by billionaire Paul Singer, raised $2.75 million over the past three months, most donated by Singer himself:

SingerThe three-month haul for American Unity PAC is by far the biggest so far for the super PAC, which was around for the 2012 election but had relatively little funding. The committee raised about the same amount in all of 2012 and pulled in just $260,000 in 2013.

The super PAC was boosted early this year by $1.75 million in donations from GOP donor Paul Singer, who has been among the most vocal and well-funded proponents of gay marriage in the GOP. Another $1 million came from billionaire Massachusetts investor Seth Klarman.

Only one other person contributed more than $25 to the super PAC.

Singer, who was also a major supporter of Mitt Romney, has a married gay son.


Judge Stays Ohio Gay Marriage Ruling, Except for the Couples Who Sued

Judge Timothy Black has stayed his ruling ordering Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, except in the case of the four couples who sued. He says Ohio must recognize their marriages immediately, the AP reports.

T_blackBlack said the stay does not apply to the four couples who filed the February lawsuit that led to the court case and ordered Ohio to immediately list both spouses in each relationship as parents on their children's birth certificates.

In explaining the stay, Black said that although he doesn't think the state's appeal will succeed, there is still a chance the 6th Circuit could overturn his decision.

"The court recognizes that recognition of same-sex marriages is a hotly contested issue in the contemporary legal landscape, and, if (the) appeal is ultimately successful, the absence of a stay ... is likely to lead to confusion, potential inequity and high costs," Black said. "Premature celebration and confusion do not serve anyone's best interests."

The case will be appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Malta's Palace Square Explodes with Joy After Passage of Gay Civil Unions Law: VIDEO

Malta

Heavily Catholic Malta passed an historic bill on Monday night legalizing gay civil unions.

The Times of Malta reports:

There was an explosion of cheers in Palace Square as the vote was taken - 37 in favour and 30 abstentions. The façade of the palace was lit in the rainbow colours.

The opposition abstained from voting because of hesitation about gay adoptions:

The controversial law on civil unions was approved by Parliament this evening amid loud cheers and celebrations by about 1,000 people who gathered on Palace Square. The Opposition abstained. The bill puts gay partnerships on a par with marriage. Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said before the final vote that although the Opposition agreed with civil unions, it had reservations regarding child adoptions by gay couples and felt this issue deserved more study.

Check out the amazing video from Malta's Palace Square, AFTER THE JUMP...

2_malta

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